MANILA, Philippines – SB19 Ken, who goes by FELIP in his solo activities, has issued a statement on the plagiarism allegations made towards his recent single “Bulan.”
Following the track’s release on May 28, fans of Chinese singer-songwriter Zhang Yixing, popularly known as EXO’s Lay, pointed out the resemblance between the lyrics, beat, and music video of “Bulan” and Lay’s “Lit.”
On Tuesday, May 31, Felip and his team issued a statement saying they are aware of the circulating posts and would like to “shed some light on the fans’ concerns as these are issues that need to be addressed.”
Felip first addressed the similarities between the tracks’ music and lyrics, explaining that his songwriting process has “always been to write the words and produce the music both at the same time.”
“However, as the creation of art is often borne out of inspiration, it’s inevitable for any of my (or any artist for that matter) songs to have some similarities in style with other artists as I often harness my musical references when creating,” he added, saying that he has always been vocal in his past interviews about getting inspiration from other artists, including Post Malone, Lay Zhang, One OK Rock, and Jaden Smith.
The singer, though, clarified that while there may seem to be similarities between the sound of the two tracks, “a closer examination of the chord progressions, instrumentation, samples used, and even syllabication will prove the claim otherwise.”
He added that the melody and the ethnic chants featured in his song “Bulan” were based on “indigeneous Filipino ritual music, made modern with the addition of rock and hip-hop elements.”
Felip went on to respond to claims regarding the similarities between the tracks’ concept, insisting that the “Bulan” music video was “made to be a metaphor for real-world issues, while staying true to common knowledge of what transpired among the characters in most versions of the ancient lores.”
During its release, the music video had a disclaimer at the start, saying that the song is a “creative interpretation of our nation’s collective memory of Filipino ancient deities.”
“‘Bulan’ was heavily and responsibly researched that details in the [music video] had its cultural basis, executed with some variations so as not to offend any cultures or indigenous populations,” he said in the statement.
They then listed down detailed explanations and references for each of the video’s visual elements – from the choreography, to the location, to the use of certain colors.
At the latter part of the statement, Felip and his team admitted that Lay’s “Lit” was, indeed, one of their references. “However, we are also giving credit to the ground-breaking concept of Lay’s ‘Lit’ [music video] and acknowledging it as one of the many references that we used for the work we do.”
“As fans of Lay, we are saddened by the situation and wish to clarify that we did not intend to copy his work.”
They ended the statement with an apology, adding that they appreciate the feedback they’ve been receiving. “Moving forward, we will continue to create more art, break stereotypes, and promote Filipino culture and history.”
“Bulan” is Ken’s second single as a solo artist. In September 2021, the SB19 singer and rapper released his first solo track “Palayo.” – Rappler.com